Saturday, June 19, 2010

Misc updates

I. In Turkmenistan's capital they have started to take down the Neutrality Arch, ostensibly to improve "... urban design in Ashgabat..." This coincidentally also takes down the 39-foot high, golden, rotating (to face the sun), statue of current Turkmen strongman Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's predecessor Turkmenbashi...

Previously blog entries referencing Turkmenbashi:
Brief Update... - Nov 4th, 2009
January is back - May 1st, 2008
OPED27 Turkmenbashi - no laughing matter - Sept 6th, 2002


II. Another use of QR bar codes: "... Have you ever come across an unusual object and wanted to know its history? Soon you might simply be able to retrieve the details on your smartphone. That's the idea behind a new scheme for creating web pages about physical objects. Its creators say it could change the way we store memories about objects and even places..." See: Barcodes help objects tell their stories.

Previous barcode-related blog entries:
Misc. barcode updates - Jun 3rd, 2010
Barcode happiness - II - Apr 11th, 2010
Barcode happiness - I - Apr 11th, 2010
Misc update - Jan 30th, 2010
Barcode update - Dec 29th, 2009
No luck - Dec 15th, 2009
QR codes to hit the U.S.? - Dec 13th, 2009
Misc. update (BB/2D barcodes) - Aug 22nd, 2009
QR update - May 19th, 2009
BB & 2D barcodes - Apr 21st, 2009



III. The March/April 2010 blog entries 'A little war' and 'A little war II' reviewed the book by Ronald Asmus on the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008... and observed that his (Asmus) "... view of the happenings over the months leading to the "little war" are informed by his view of NATO. He conflates "democracy" and "NATO" as if these are synonymous terms... Georgia was turning towards democracy, ergo NATO membership would be a natural consequence or next step in that evolution. A key player in the earlier enlargement of NATO in the '90s, Asmus' assumptions that NATO expansion is logical and good, that no right-thinking person could find this problematic in any way, and that this expansion is a natural consequence of the expansion of democracy, color his view of the world and of the happenings in this period..." Following the war, NATO's eastward march stopped...

Last month the "Group of Experts" (chaired by Madeleine Albright) presented their recommendations on what NATO's new Strategic Concept should be... This also touched upon relations with Russia: "... It is clearly in NATO’s best interest to work with Moscow to build a cooperative Euro-Atlantic security order and to respond to such shared concerns as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, piracy and drug trafficking. “Partnership … is a two way street – but from the Alliance perspective, the door to cooperation with Moscow should remain open at all levels.” Some (e.g. see the Armchair Generalist's commentary linked below)

This month the Ukraine's parliament approved a bill prohibiting NATO accession, although Ukranian President Yanukovich did rule out recognizing South Ossetia or Abkhazia...

Ukraine drops NATO membership bid
Yanukovych Won't Recognize South Ossetia or Abkhazia
NATO's door remains open to Ukraine
NATO 2020: Assured security; dynamic engagement (Group of Experts Report)
NATO's Uncertain Future


IV. This May 2008 blog entry (reprint of a Jan 2002 oped) discussed Kashmir and suggested that a resolution of the "Kashmir problem" would "... significantly lower the nuclear threshold, and increase the risk of their use at a future point. Thus it is in everyone's interest that the question of Kashmir be resolved at this time when the risk of a nuclear exchange is low! The international community should push for a demilitarized and independent Kashmir as a solution to the problem..." Nothing much has "moved" since...

Recently Just 2% of people in J&K want to join Pak: Survey reported that a "... study by Robert Bradrock, a scholar from London's Kings College, that involved interviewing 3,774 people in both parts of Kashmir in September-October 2009 showed that 44% of people on the Pakistani side favoured independence, compared to 43% in Indian Kashmir. Bradrock says in the 37-page report on the survey that this would put an end for all times to come to the plebiscite route as a possible way to resolve Kashmir, since the only two options envisaged under the UN resolutions proposing plebiscite in 1948/49 were for the whole of Kashmir to join either India or Pakistan; azadi was not an option. But in the Valley, the mood for azadi still remained strong, with 75%-95% respondents favouring that as a final resolution..." This blogger continues to believe that Kashmiri independence is the way to go...

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